07 December 2013

Nelson Mandela and Zhabdrung Rinpoche

This morning we woke up in the world without Nelson Mandela. The entire world felt the pain of losing him, and perhaps the entire universe must have known that someone so dear has passed away on earth. This is a life well lived. This is how we must strive to live.

While the world today celebrates Mandela's life and remembers him in million different ways, I, a Bhutanese pay tribute to his great life by comparing him to Zhabdrung Rinpoche. Zhabdrung lived four hundred years before Mandela yet there is something so common between the two- Zhabdrung unified Bhutan as a nation state while Mandela unified different races to make South Africa one strong nation. Zhabdrung fled to Bhutan to escape arrest in Tibet where he was supposed to be the rightful leader. But after he became powerful in Bhutan he never sought vengeance against people in Tibet who wronged him, just as Mandela reconciled with people who imprisoned him 27 years.

Today, when Mandela dies I am reminded of Zhabdrung's death. He died in 1651 but his death had to be kept secret for 54 years fearing his absence might disrupt the unity of Bhutan. He was the unifier and things were in place because of his presence. Country saw numerous civil wars and assassinations of leaders after that until monarchy system was established in 1907. Zhabdrung couldn't be immortal and therefore the unity and peace he brought were threatened after his death.

Mandela RIP
Mandela too is mortal, and in the age of TV, Facebook and Twitter his death cannot be kept a secret, in fact world knew he passed away the moment he did. Now the question is, will his absence affect South Africa? He was 95 and sick, every moment he was kept alive was in deed torturing him. It's best to let him rest in peace after the Long Walk to Freedom. He needs to be freed from his aged body. And if South Africans truly wants to honour him live the freedom he fought for, keep the torch of his legacy burning. Let him live forever in the hearts.

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